Governor Roy Cooper declared January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to shed light on this borderless crime and highlight ways North Carolinians can identify and help victims. According to the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission, North Carolina consistently ranks within the top 10 states in the nation for human trafficking and except for the time during the pandemic, the number of cases has continued to rise over the past five years.
“Human trafficking comes in many forms impacting millions of people each year worldwide. To continue fighting this issue we must remain vigilant and educate our communities on potential warning signs,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “We must continue to protect residents through prevention, prosecution and continued partnership with the NC Human Trafficking Commission and other state organizations that educate and serve as a resource for North Carolinians.”
Human trafficking is a global issue involving the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, buying or selling of human beings for labor and/or services by means of force, fraud or coercion. It is a crime that deprives victims of human dignity and freedom, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, citizenship or socioeconomic status. In 2021, 223 cases of trafficking in North Carolina were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Additionally, state-funded victim service agencies in North Carolina reported serving 494 human trafficking survivors during fiscal year 2022-2023.
In recent years, the NC Department of Administration’s (NCDOA) Council for Women and Youth Involvement has worked with other state partners to coordinate anti-human trafficking outreach, training and resources. The agency also has helped to enact legislation mandating that trafficking prevention and awareness be included in the sexual health education curriculum and provided to all public-school personnel.
To raise awareness and show support, several state government buildings in downtown Raleigh will be illuminated in blue for several days in tribute to survivors and victims of human trafficking (a map to locate buildings participating in the blue light campaign can be viewed here). From January 9-11, visitors can see blue lights on display at the Museum of History, Archdale Building, Old Education Building and others. On January 11, people are encouraged to wear blue and share selfies as part of the national #WearBlueDay campaign.
If you believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BEFREE” to 233733. Contact local law enforcement only if someone is in immediate danger.
Find more information and resources about combatting human trafficking on NCDOA’s website.
About NCDOA and the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement
The N.C. Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government. Under the leadership of Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell, the department oversees government operations and advocacy programs. The department's advocacy programs help to promote and assist diverse segments of the state's population that have been traditionally underserved. NCDOA’s Council for Women and Youth Involvement division advises the governor, state legislators and state leaders on issues impacting women and youth.